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Why you may never see a 4K Microsoft Surface display

PC World - Fri, 2020-05-15 06:30

As Microsoft readies its Surface Book 3 to ship later this month, you might be wondering: Why doesn’t it have a 4K display? The answer, according to Microsoft, is simple: You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.

In 2015, the display resolution of the Surface Book was revolutionary: 3,000x2000 pixels, arranged in what is now a familiar 3:2 ratio. (It’s still the same in the Surface Book 3, though the 15-inch version includes a 3240x2160 display.) But it’s now 2020, and more laptop manufacturers are opting for true 4K (3840x2160) panels instead. According to Stevie Bathiche, Technical Fellow and an Applied Sciences Group lead at Microsoft, it doesn’t sound like Microsoft will necessarily end up following suit.

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How to make your Google/Nest smart speakers, displays, and cameras listen for suspicious sounds

Mac World - Fri, 2020-05-15 06:00
Thanks to Google’s new Nest Aware plans, Google Home and Nest devices can now keep an ear out for the sounds of smoke alarms and breaking glass.

Aukey SK-M30 Eclipse Bluetooth speaker review: Stylish design and satisfactory sound

Mac World - Fri, 2020-05-15 06:00
Aukey's SK-M30 Eclipse is an affordable and very attractive Bluetooth speaker. The sound doesn't quite live up to its looks, but it's very good for the price.

How to make your Google/Nest smart speakers, displays, and cameras listen for suspicious sounds

PC World - Fri, 2020-05-15 06:00
Thanks to Google’s new Nest Aware plans, Google Home and Nest devices can now keep an ear out for the sounds of smoke alarms and breaking glass.

Aukey SK-M30 Eclipse Bluetooth speaker review: Stylish design and satisfactory sound

PC World - Fri, 2020-05-15 06:00
Aukey's SK-M30 Eclipse is an affordable and very attractive Bluetooth speaker. The sound doesn't quite live up to its looks, but it's very good for the price.

Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 22:07

Editor’s note: The sudden rise in working from home has created unanticipated demand for laptops. As a result, many models that used to be inexpensive are now pricier. Our list of good buys is shorter as a result, but we still care about your limited budget and want to help you make good choices.  

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs—and doesn’t saddle you with features (or lack thereof) that you’ll regret in a year. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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PCWorld's May Digital Magazine: Ryzen 4000 vs. Comet Lake H

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 18:41

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the May issue

In PCWorld May its the Ryzen 4000 vs. Comet Lake H: New CPUs, a new era for laptops. Plus: Stuck at home? Find out why spending more on a Wifi 6 router pays off. We also review the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14: Ryzen 4000 makes this thin, light laptop a winner.

Other highlights include:

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Apple is buying a virtual reality company, but don’t expect a headset anytime soon

Mac World - Thu, 2020-05-14 16:21

As the rest of the world is tightening purse strings, Apple is continuing to spend. After a month of speculation, Apple confirmed that it has purchased NextVR, a startup focused on broadcasting major events in virtual reality.

The Apple spokesperson who confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg provided little more detail beyond the company’s standard comment: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

The NextVR website has been completely stripped of all content and simply states, “NextVR is Heading in a New Direction. Thank you to our partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this awesome platform for sports, music and entertainment experiences in Virtual Reality.”

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Nvidia releases 5 more free ray-traced Minecraft worlds

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 13:57

All eyes might be on the next-gen “Ampere” graphics architecture Nvidia announced during today’s digital GTC 2020 keynote, eager to catch a glimpse of what’s coming to future GeForce graphics cards, but another announcement benefits owners of existing GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs. Today, Nvidia released not one, not two, but five more ray-traced worlds crafted for Minecraft by several community creators.

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Early research results show impacts of pandemic on children and youth

Brock News - Thu, 2020-05-14 13:43

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 May 2020 – R0086

Two girls passing notes to each other through their shared backyard fence. A boy breathing a sigh of relief for not having to face unpleasant classmates at school.

These are some of the stories being captured in Brock University research on the experiences of children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When she started her study at the end of March, Professor of Child and Youth Studies Rebecca Raby was concerned — and curious — about how young people are coping with the pandemic.

“Clearly, there are children who are in a lot of distress out there,” she said. “But I suspect we’re also going to hear stories about really cool, compelling things that kids have started to initiate at home with parents, siblings, on their own or online.”

She and her six-member student team have been conducting bi-weekly, online interviews with 25 children and youth from ages eight to 16 from a wide range of backgrounds and living arrangements. In between the structured, formalized interviews are informal check-ins via text or other messaging.

The research team is compiling some interesting stories.

One of the six children Brock PhD student Laurel Donison has been surveying is an eight-year-old girl whose friend, also eight, lives next door. Not having access to social media or a smartphone, the two were playing in their respective yards when they figured out a way to communicate despite the tall fence that separated them.

“The girl showed me during our video call the hole she made in the fence between her yard and the yard beside her so that she and the other girl were able to pass each other notes, draw each other pictures and talk through the fence this way,” says Donison.

Raby says that although it’s difficult to generalize the diverse experiences of children and youth while sheltering at home, some broad trends are starting to emerge.

These include activities such as building, cooking, baking, writing, making art, videos and fake fingernails, sewing, gardening and playing instruments.

“What I found most surprising is the significance of the arts in helping the young people to cope,” says Raby.

Also notable to Raby was the number of children and youth who have reported having difficulties with online learning, specifically when they need to ask questions about things they don’t understand. Children with learning disabilities, English as a second language or for those whose parents are working during the day and are thus unable to answer questions find it especially challenging.

Not so unexpected is that children and youth are missing face-to-face interaction with friends and peers.

“Clearly, a really important component to their lives is hanging out with friends,” says Raby. “Many have expressed sadness about not being able to hang out together.”

An overwhelming majority also miss being at school, although one 13-year-old boy reported feeling relieved that he didn’t have to face his peers, who he felt ignored him.

Raby says most children and youth seem to know “a lot about what is going on,” mostly through news reports and school lessons, likely adding to the worries they widely expressed about their parents and grandparents getting sick and stress over people not physical distancing.

Other common patterns among the child and youth research participants include:

  • An appreciation for how schoolwork and other tasks provide structure to the day and, at the same time, enjoying the ability to schedule their own time and order of tasks.
  • Challenges with self-motivation, especially if schoolwork isn’t interesting or if there are too many distractions online and in their surrounding environment.
  • Girls seem more likely to be doing chores than boys, especially in terms of taking care of younger siblings or helping them with homework.
  • Frequent connection with friends and other activity online; a relaxing of family rules about online time and overall less regulation of online activities.

The research team’s interviews will proceed for another few months and then the team will more deeply analyze the data collected from the interviews.

Professor of Child and Youth Studies Rebecca Raby is available for phone and video interviews on the research.

 

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca or 905-347-1970

– 30 –

Crusader Kings III hands-on: I defeated my son in a duel and he (probably) died of embarrassment

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 12:00

My son won’t stop dueling people. It’s Earl Muiredach who brought it to my attention, both his pride and his arm wounded. “He turned up at my doorstep and challenged me in front of everyone,” he growls. “I had no choice to accept.”

I sit on my throne and ponder what to do with Brian, my unruly heir. Dueling my vassals simply won’t do. My grip on the Irish throne is tenuous enough as it is. Brian’s stubborn though, and ordering him to cease might not accomplish much.

There’s only one course of action, really. “Pah! Your father will show you how it’s done.” I stand and heft my sword, veteran of dozens of sieges, and I kick my son’s ass. The duels stop. My son never speaks to me again—and a few months later, he dies. Was illness the cause, as the doctors claimed? Or embarrassment?

To read this article in full, please click here

Grand Theft Auto V is free on the Epic Games Store this week

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 11:13

Chances are you own Grand Theft Auto V by now. Hell, you might even own two, three, maybe even four copies of Grand Theft Auto V by now. With over 120 million copies sold, it’s one of the best-selling games of all time, second only to Minecraft. But if you somehow missed out on Grand Theft Auto V over the last seven years, good news: You can get it for free.

It’s through Epic, of course, though the Game Stores’ servers are currently melting under the demand. Epic’s been teasing a big giveaway this week, with a placeholder “Mystery Game” entry and a countdown timer sitting on the front page since last Thursday. Plenty of speculation ensued, but it’s Rockstar’s still-somehow-a-top-seller that was revealed when the curtain drew back.

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Nvidia's bleeding-edge Ampere GPU architecture revealed: 5 things PC gamers need to know

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 11:02

Nvidia’s next-generation GPU architecture is finally here. Nearly a year and a half after the GeForce RTX 20-series launched with Nvidia’s Turing architecture inside, and three years after the launch of the data center-focused Volta GPUs, CEO Jensen Huang unveiled graphics cards powered by the new Ampere architecture during a digital GTC 2020 keynote on Thursday morning. It looks like an absolute monster.

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Watchsmith review: Personalize your Apple Watch with custom complications

Mac World - Thu, 2020-05-14 07:00

Smartwatch owners love being able to customize the appearance of the Apple Watch face. With just a few taps on the screen or rotations of the digital crown, no two wrists look the same. But in typical Apple fashion, that personalization stops just short of perfection, since there’s no way for developers to create truly unique third-party watch faces of their own.

Instead, Apple Watch lovers must rely on an extensive battery of complications to populate favorite watch faces with data relevant to each person. For those looking to go beyond this limitation, there’s now an ingenious app designed to automatically display a wide range of complications on a given schedule throughout the day. It’s the closest we’ll likely come to custom Apple Watch faces.

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How to edit PDFs in Microsoft Word

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:30

Editing in PDFs in Microsoft Word has become a lot easier since Microsoft built in more functionality, starting with Word 2016. Its cousin the Edge browser has impressive PDF capabilities too.

While you can't beat a full-fledged PDF editor for complex work, Word now has the ability to open and edit PDFs (though with some formatting hiccups). Here's how it all works.

Import, export, and edit PDFs in Microsoft Word

1. Open Word 2016. Select File > Open, then Browse to the folder that contains your PDFs. Select a file and click the Open button. Notice the selected file appears in the View window on the right. For this example, select a file with text and graphics.

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Alienware Area-51m upgradability: How the Holy Grail of laptop features eluded us

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:30

The Quest for the Holy Grail of gaming laptop features—upgradable internal graphics—ended in a horrible, ignominious death on Wednesday, with the release of Alienware’s Area-51m R2.

And by death, we mean permanent death—not Marvel comics death, where the hero comes back 10 issues later.

If we sound bitter, heartbroken, and utterly disappointed, it’s because we are. When the Alienware Area-51m R1 came out a year ago, we thought our quest for upgradable graphics in laptops was finally over. The Area-51m R1 came with a socketed CPU and custom graphics modules that the company could control. 

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How coronavirus is speeding up a la carte cord-cutting

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:00
Coronavirus has accelerated the move to a la carte cord-cutting.

Ring Smart Lighting Solar Pathlight review: Everything we loved about the original model, and less (batteries, that is)

PC World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:00
You'll get the most value from this great path light if you've also invested in—or plan to—other home security devices in the ever-widening Ring ecosystem.

How coronavirus is speeding up a la carte cord-cutting

Mac World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:00
Coronavirus has accelerated the move to a la carte cord-cutting.

Ring Smart Lighting Solar Pathlight review: Everything we loved about the original model, and less (batteries, that is)

Mac World - Thu, 2020-05-14 06:00
You'll get the most value from this great path light if you've also invested in—or plan to—other home security devices in the ever-widening Ring ecosystem.

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